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Yesterday Dallas let LB Jasper Brinkley go to make room for new comer OT Justin Mills. Today the NY Giants signed Brinkley and it's now 5 days until the Giants and Cowboys open the season at AT&T Stadium.


Here's an article from DallasCowboys.com's David Helman who attempts to answer the question, "The Cowboys are an improved team but, will their record show it?". He also tosses in some predictions for the coming season.




Beginning this week the Cowboys website staff will put out a weekly piece called "The Big Picture" that talks about the top stories of the coming game. This week Nick Eatman looks at the Cowboys-Giants game. He discusses the running back situation for the Cowboys and the injuries affecting the Giants among other things.



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Dallas catches a bit of a break as they head into Week 1. They won't have to deal with WR Victor Cruz because he will be out due to a calf injury. Eli Manning still has a lot of receivers to throw to but Cruz coupled with Odell Beckham Jr will pose a lot of matchup problems when they get on the field together.


Jason Garrett indicated that Tony Romo will not practice today as Dallas sort of goes back to the routine they had last season giving Tony a "Romo day off" on Wednesdays. This limits wear and tear on Romo's arm and his body as Dallas seeks to keep Romo completely healthy given the fact that he is 35 years old and all of Dallas' hopes for success ride on keeping him healthy and on the field on Sundays. Hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it seems to be the mindset because of the success Dallas had giving Romo Wednesdays off in 2014.


I'm knocking on wood here but except for Orlando Scandrick missing the season due to a torn ACL this is the most healthy this team has been going into a season in a long, long time. Hopefully, by Week 17 we'll be in the playoffs and just as healthy.


What do you guys think will be Dallas record this year? Will they make the playoffs? What will it take for Dallas to win the Super Bowl?

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The Cowboys had an unusual occurrence today. All 53 members of the roster practiced today. Even for this early in the season this is unusual. It's awesome and it will likely be the only time this season but it's nice for Dallas to at least begin the season healthy.


The Cowboys filled the last spot on their practice squad yesterday when they signed CB Deji Olatoye. Olatoye spent last season on the Chiefs and Ravens practice squads. Deji has nice size at 6'1" and 198 lbs and because he has experience with two pretty good defensive teams he should know his way around an NFL locker room. Here's an article from DallasCowboys.com that includes the list of all 10 practice squad members.




With Zack Martin, JJ Wilcox, Anthony Hitchens, Devon Street, James Hanna and of course Tony Romo returning to practice the perception is Dallas is full bore go for the season opener vs the Giants on Sunday night. Many of the guys on this list have been out as more of a precautionary measure than any problems the team is in really good shape. Zack Martin suffered a stinger in the joint practice with Rams a couple of weeks ago in Oxnard has no limits so the O-line for the first time this whole preseason are all on the field together. That is a good thing. James Hanna has missed because of an ankle and he looks to be back close, if not all the way, to full strength. Anthony Hitchens has miss a lot of time the pass couple of weeks with a foot injury but he was reported as running fine with no pain and he is going to be the starting middle linebacker on Sunday night. Street has been nursing an ankle injure since the Rams practices but he looks like he's good to go. JJ Wilcox missed training camp time too but he looks like he will be back and ready to go as well. Romo only missed yesterday's practice as the Cowboys have decided to return to the "Romo Wednesdays" routine of last season to help give Tony a little extra time to recover from the week's games. Last season Romo missed out on a lot of training camp reps as Dallas tried being cautious with him as he recovered from off season back surgery. The rust showed in a big way in the Cowboys season opener last summer when Romo threw 3 picks and generally didn't play well. Experts were saying at the time that Romo's back was the reason and maybe this was signaling the end of Romo's career. Fortunately, (as usual) the experts were wrong. It was rust and by Week 4 Romo was back in form and ended up enjoying his best season as a pro. I guess the Cowboys felt like "...if it ain't broke don't fix it." in terms of Romo's weekly routine.

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Well all that ballyhoo over all 53 players practicing lasted all of one day as Dallas' newest lineman Justin Mills landed on the injury list. Truth is Dallas has 10 players on the injury list this week but all but Mills were full participants while Mills practiced but on a limited basis. Here is the official injury report heading into tomorrow night's game. Tomorrow night---freaking sweet! Dallas also gets a bit of a break for the game, starting LB John Beason and WR Victor Cruz are both out for the game.




Last season prior to the 2014 season opener against the 49ers the pundits and experts had Dallas not even going .500 which is what they had done the previous 3 years. Most predicted the Cowboys would be 7-9 or 6-10. Dallas had the worst defense on the planet in 2013 and didn't look much better for 2014. 2015 looks a lot better with the return of Sean Lee and the acquisition of some pass rushers in the off season, not to mention a 1st round pick CB/S to shore up the defensive backfield. If the pass rush improves as much as hoped without any loss of quality in their run defense Dallas could end up a top 10 unit. DallasCowboys.com's Mickey Spagnola talks about the prospects for this season much better than I ever could. Here's a link to his article.




Here are Bryan Broaddus' final thoughts before the season opening game tomorrow night.




Prediction for the game: The Cowboys and Giants have always played shootout type of games regardless if one or both are not playing so well going in. It has actually taken at least 31 points for one or the other to win and I really have no reason to believe that trend will change. So my final score in the game will be.....................


Dallas 33 NY Giants 17

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What a nightmare last night was because despite pretty much dominating every statistical category Dallas found itself down by 10 points in the 4th quarter. This was because Dallas gift wrapped 17 points to the Giants because of turnovers. Jason Witten played volleyball with a bad pass from Romo that resulted in an INT for NY which led to a field goal. Cole Beasley, at the end of a 30 yard gain, had the ball ripped out and Antonio Rogers-Cromartie scooped up the fumble and ran it back for a TD. Then Devin Street catches a pass for about a second when he's hit knocking the ball straight into a Giant defender's arms and he took the ball down to the Dallas one where they scored on the first play after the turnover. Otherwise the Giants offense scored 9 points. Dallas earned every point they scored and even with the turnovers Dallas should have won by 17. The receivers had bad case of the drops. Dez actually dropped a ball in the red zone he could have almost walked in for a TD if he had just caught the damn ball. Street, Williams and couple of others hand more butter on the their hands than they had stickem. Dallas' defense was pretty darn good. Eli was getting the ball out quick but if he held the ball for any length of time he would be hit at very least. Odell Beckham was pretty much ineffectual in the game and IMO a big reason was a ka-boom laid on him when he caught a pass over the middle by safety JJ Wilcox. The hit jarred Bechham, knocked the ball loose and was actually called incomplete. What we didn't know until after the game was that Wilcox broke his nose delivering the hit. It's not likely Wilcox will miss any time but there were some hard hits suffered by the Cowboys on the injury front. Dez Bryant will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his foot that will require surgery. G Ronald Leary went out with a groin injury. No word on his status as yet. DE Randy Gregory will be out 4-6 weeks with the dreaded high ankle sprain. All three are major contributors and it may be hardest to replace Dez but Gregory's loss is a huge blow to the Cowboys pass rush. The Cowboys were counting on his contributions in the first 4 weeks of the season especially to fill the gap left by the Greg Hardy suspension. This is an opportunity for Jeremy Mincey to step up and make a difference. Sean Lee was a welcome sight on the field and he led the Cowboys with nine tackles. The move to the WILL spot is a match made in heaven for Lee. He just looks like a natural at the position. Of course, Lee is good enough to look at home in any of the 3 LB spots.

The drive that won the game began with 1:28 left in the game with no time outs and ended with just 7 seconds remaining on the clock on a pass from Romo to Witten for an 11 yard TD. It was the 24th fourth quarter comeback in Romo's career. Romo completed 36-of-45 passes (80 percent) for 356 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 103.3 quarterback rating. The 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter marked the largest deficit overcome by Romo and the Cowboys in the final period since a 13-point deficit they overcame at Detroit on Dec. 9, 2007.

Now we have to adjust to life without Dez or Gregory. Those are two big losses to work through but one thing is for certain, the Eagles, Falcon Saints and Patriots who our next 4 opponents will definitely NOT feel sorry for the Cowboys. Time for the Cowboys to put on their big boy pants and see what they are really made of.

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The reports are that the surgery went well on Dez Bryant's foot yesterday. They inserted a screw into his foot at his little toe area. The time frame he's out seems to be open to some debate. Originally the Cowboys said 4-6 weeks. Today I see an article in Bleacher Report that a Dr the BR people spoke to said it was going to be 8-12 weeks. In another post on BR former NFL WR Donte Stallworth had the same surgery and he missed 6-7 weeks. In the link below is the article with both references. In a link to Stallworth's twitter account he posted the pics of his foot before and after surgery. The pics may come up on your computer. The pics came up on my phone but not on my PC. I have some trouble with my work PC at times with stuff like that but there is at least a link to the x-rays of Stallworth's foot.




There is another article in BR that says the real time table for Bryant's return is unknown but they feel like he will be able to begin workouts in 2-3 weeks. So, there's that.

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So the player personnel department has been working overtime this week after having to deal with their lack of depth at offensive tackle and the loss of Dez Bryant this past Sunday. Let's recap the moves since last Saturday.

1. On Saturday the Cowboys and DT Tyrone Crawford agreed to a 4 year $45MM contract extension. That is a good thing.

2. On Monday Dallas waived OT Justin Mills. Mills was signed late last week in hopes he would be the answer the Cowboys have been looking for at swing tackle. Evidently he was the wrong answer.

3. On Tuesday Dallas waived OT Darion Weems. Weems had been on either the Cowboys IR or practice squad for the past 3 seasons. He got the most work in practice since signing with Dallas in 2013. The Cowboys were hoping that Weems was the answer the Cowboys had been looking for at swing tackle but he just didn't have what was needed to play either tackle spots. The best he could do was backup the right tackle spot and that's just not enough.

4. On Tuesday Dallas signs OT Charles Brown. Brown has been with the Saints (2010 2nd round pick) and Giants. He was among the final cuts on Sept 5 by the Jets. Dallas worked out Brown last week but didn't sign him opting instead to sign Justin Mills. I think it was salary cap move because, being a 5 year vet, if he was on the Cowboys opening day roster his entire 2015 salary would be guaranteed. Week 2 it's not. Brown has started 22 of 39 games which means that he is a good candidate to step into the swing tackle role for the Cowboys. Here's a scouting report from DallasCowboys.com on Brown who was actually Tyron Smith's teammate and roommate at USC.




5. On Tuesday Dallas released S Tim Scott off the practice squad which opens a spot that actually could be filled by Weems if he clears waivers. The Cowboys may actually see potential in Weems but he's missed too much due to injuries and needs too much work to fill the role that Dallas had hoped.

6. On Tuesday Dallas worked out 4 WRs including Hakeem Nicks but none were signed.

7. On Tuesday Dallas made a trade with the Oakland Raiders for WR Bryce Brown. Brown is a big receiver like Dez (6'3", 213 lbs) but obviously he isn't as talented as Dez. In the trade Dallas gave up a conditional draft pick depending on how many games Brown is actually on the roster. If he is on the roster for 6 games then Dallas will give up their 2016 5th round pick while Dallas will get Oakland's 6th round pick. Here are a couple of articles about Brown from DallasCowboys.com.




There are those who believe the loss of Randy Gregory to the high ankle sprain is actually a bigger loss to the Cowboys than the loss of Dez. Considering the loss of pass rush those people just may be right.


A last link to DallasCowboys.com features an article from Nick Eatman who compares Jason Garrett to Bill Parcels as Dallas prepares to play the Philadelphia Eagles this week. This one is pretty interesting.



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Okay, I'm confused. (Nothing new, right?) The other day Dallas cut S Tim Scott from the practice squad and the thinking was that it would give Dallas an opportunity to sign recently cut OL Darion Weems. Today, DallasCowboys.com is reporting that Dallas did, in fact, sign Weems to the practice squad but they had to release RB Gus Johnson to make room for Weems. Who filled the other practice squad spot vacated by Scott? I'm sure there a lot of Gus Johnson fans disappointed at this news.


Romo was back at practice, Leary was still out which resulted in Mackenzy Bernadeau and La'el Collins sharing 1st team reps. Newly signed OL Charles Brown practiced today as well as did Christine Michael. It remains to be seen if Michael will suit up for Dallas Sunday in Philly. WR Brice Butler practiced as well. Honestly, I wouldn't expect Butler to be active this week. Dallas will be counting on Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley, Devin Street and Lucky Whitehead to step up and try to replace the loss of Dez. Former Cowboy Nate Newton feels as though TE Gavin Escobar and RB Lance Dunbar will contribute heavily in Philly this week.


This week Dallas will be facing the 4th QB in the last 2 years when facing the Eagles. Chip Kelly has used Nick Foles, Marc Sanchez and Matt Barkley previously and now Dallas will face Sam Bradford. Bradford is undoubtedly the best QB in the Chip Kelly era Dallas has faced and Dallas better be on their toes or this team will make the Cowboys look silly. DallasCowboys.com's Rob Phillips talks about the challenges the Cowboys face in Sam Bradford.




Bryan Broaddus gives us a scout's view of what the O-line needs do in the run game and the challenge of covering the slot on defense in his keys to the game article.



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This is going to be a big game for so early in the season. Dallas really needs to win this week. Yeah, I know, they really need to win EVERY week but consider this. In the next 3 weeks Dallas will play the Falcons at home, New Orleans on the road and the Patriots at home. If Dallas can win this game and two of the next 3 they will be in great shape going into their Week 6 bye. It's against the Jason Garrett mantra to look ahead but as fans we have that luxury and if we can manage to get through this gauntlet of 5 games 4-1 it will go a long way to putting Dallas in a comfortable spot in the NFC East. This will be a weird year as Dallas will have played both games against the Giants and Eagle by Week 9 and We play the Redskins twice in December. If Dallas is going to repeat as NFC East Champions they will have earned it as Dallas plays many of the best teams in the NFL during the season including some teams that were thought to be push overs like the Jets and the Bills that are now playing pretty tough football. So, winning in Philly this week is pretty dang important. Dallas could go to 2-0 on the season while the rest of the division could easily start out 0-2.


So, Dallas will be without Dez and Randy Gregory this week. There is a chance they will also be without RG Ron Leary who is listed as questionable with a groin injury. If Leary can't go it will likely be Mackenzy Bernadeau going for Dallas and probably means highly touted UFA La'el Collins will be active for the game as backup at the guard position. Philly isn't missing anyone except WR Seyi Ajirotutu. (who?)


The most interesting matchup media wise has been the DeMarco Murray vs his old team story line and that's a real thing Dallas will need to be stout against the run to make the Eagles one dimensional. Unfortunately, the Eagle don't mind throwing the rock around--a lot. Sam Bradford attempted 52 passes against the Falcons last week. Murray gained all of 9 yards rushing. Now, it should be noted that Philly lost that game but they lost in large part because of the Falcons best receiver Julio Jones. Dallas will not have their #1 WR to lean on. It's going to be a challenge in every respect this week but don't get so lost on how good that "Chip Kelly" offense is and forget we have a pretty good team too.


Nothing left to say but this. Dallas is a 5 point underdog to the Eagles with the O/U at 55 points. There were 50 points scored last week between Philly and Hotlanta with the Falcons scoring 26 to Philly's 24. I expect this game, if Dallas is going to win, will be similar. I might be tempted to take the Cowboys and the points and the under here but I learned a long time ago that if I bet on Dallas, either way, I and they will lose. That said, I think Dallas needs to win this game and I think they will. What's the final score?



Dallas 29 Philadelphia 27

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I thought it would be a higher scoring game than it was but Dallas kept shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and they failed to execute in the red zone. The game yesterday should never have been as close as it was. Dallas had the ball just over 40 minutes and Philly had it for 19 minutes and change. A 2-1 time of possession should have translated to more than 20 points. It was actually worse than that as the defense scored a TD so Dallas' offense was only responsible for 13 points. Now, Philly has a pretty good D but they should have been tired as hell by halftime. The offense stalled at the 1/2 yard line and that is inexcusable. 3 plays to make a 1/2 yard and you can't, that's pitiful. That series was a prime example of how much Dallas, and Romo, misses Dez Bryant. A back shoulder fade to Gavin Escobar failed miserably, Joseph Randall was stuffed on 2nd down while Dallas was in the 3 tight end formation (which I hate) and Romo underthrew Witten at the back corner of the end zone. Romo lofted a soft floater that allowed the defender to recover after Witten had beaten him badly resulted in an incompletion on 3rd down. No way in hell Dallas should have settled for a field goal.

Then, in the 3rd quarter Romo was sacked and in the process he was turned sideways and driven into the turf that resulted in a broken collar bone. This is a serious setback for the Cowboys. The season is now riding on the right arm of Brandon Weeden. Does that scare you? It should. We're not talking about a spot start like last season when he came in a stunk up the place against Arizona, no, we're talking about at least 8 games. Half the damn season. Maybe he can do it but not if he stinks as bad as he did last year. In that start against the Cardinals Weeden reminded me of Ryan Mallett yesterday. Strong armed QB who is not accurate was what Weeden was. He will need to be better than that. In a perfect world Dallas would go 6-2 in those 8 games but what reality holds in store is anybody's guess.

The good thing is this, in the past Dallas couldn't be counted on the carry the team. Even last year when the Cowboys went 12-4 it was the offense that carried the team even though the defense was top 3 in takeaways. So far in 2015 the defense looks like it has turned a corner. The front office invested in many upgrades to the defense by signing/drafting players to upgrade their pass rush. They also have a healthy 3 technique D tackle in Tyrone Crawford and most importantly they have a healthy Sean Lee. (I am furiously knocking on every piece of wood in sight right now.) Lee has made a huge difference as has 2nd year man Anthony Hitchens. Hell, even the man who has been trying to find a place to fit in to this defense for 4 years, Kyle Wilbur, seems to have found a place at the SAM linebacker spot. Wilbur is the one who picked up the blocked punt and scored the Cowboys first TD yesterday. Mo Claiborne has played well, as befitting top ten draft pick, because he's finally healthy. 1st round pick Byron Jones has played his role well as has free agent CB/S Cory White. I want to say that CB Brandon Carr has been playing well but he needs a stern talking to by Rod Marinelli after a huge whiff on a tackle of DeMarco Murray yesterday in the 4th qtr. Carr had Murray pinned against the sideline but Murray literally jumped over Carr who ducked his head to body block tackle Murray. I want Marinelli tell Carr and the other DBs that from Pop Warner on up coaches should be telling players to SEE WHAT YOU HIT! In other words keep your head up and drive through the tackle.

Speaking of Murray, Dallas held Murray to 2 yards rushing--2. The Cowboys defense only allowed 7 yards rushing total and that's after they held the Giants to 99 yards last week. The defense now has only 2 weeks to wait before Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain return to the lineup and Randy Gregory should be back within the next 2-4 weeks. We have to get by Atlanta and a weak New Orleans team before reinforcements arrive to strengthen the defense. With a strong defense we can hang in most games but it all comes down to Weeden. If he can do more than drive the bus and not kill the offense with poor play we have a chance of going into Week 5 against the Patriots either 3-1 or 4-0. Now that would be something.

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Dallas has had a heckuva week. First and foremost they actually won the game with Philly last Sunday. That fact may be lost in all the hullabaloo surrounding the fact that Tony Romo will miss at least half of the season with a broken collar bone. We're hearing 8 weeks but maybe more depending on how his rehab goes. At any rate earlier this week Romo was placed on Injured Reserve/Scheduled for Return meaning he will miss at least six weeks. As injuries pile up for the Cowboys and the moves are made by Dallas as a result we, and they, can't lose sight of the fact Dallas has a game this week with the Atlanta Falcons. To matters worse for the Cowboys late this week starting right defensive end Jeremy Mincey was concussed in practice and will miss the game Sunday. It didn't take long for the Gods of Football decided to bring the hammer down on the Cowboys after they actually had all 53 players on the roster at practice the week leading up to their Week 1 game against NY. So far Dallas has lost Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Randy Gregory, and they also were dealing with the 4 game suspensions of Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain. Dallas was also dealing with the loss of LG Ronald Leary and his status is questionable this week meaning the Cowboys will likely give rookie La'el Collins his first NFL start after he got his first NFL action last week against Philly. On top of all that Jason Witten came out of the Philly game with both ankles and a knee hurting bad enough he was on crutches on Monday. As the week progressed Witten returned to practice and depite being listed as probable. All the moves Dallas made to strengthen their D-line is paying dividends not only on the field but also depth wise. After so many hits to the D-line that depth is being severely tested. Speculation is that Jack Crawford is the next man up in Mincey's spot but it could also be DeMarcus Lawrence flips over from his left D-end spot to the right while Jack Crawford and rookie Ryan Russell as the backup on both sides. Whoever is on the field will need to be as good as the Cowboys have been the first two weeks as they absolutely need to get pressure on the Falcon's Matt Ryan to have any hope of stopping the Falcons on offense.

Dallas needs to stay nasty on defense and it's fortunate that they have been just that--nasty. With the sloppiness the Cowboys have been displaying on offense in the terms of play killing penalties the defense has really been the strength of the team so far. Of the 26 points Dallas allowed the NY Giants in Week 1 17 points came off turnovers. Last week Dallas D stifled the Eagles who scored a mere 10 points for the game. If you compare that to the Falcons who also played NY and Philly so far the Falcons gave up 24 to Philly in Week 1 and allowed the Giants to score 20 last Sunday. What this all tells me is this is going to be a tough game for both teams and will likely be a close game that comes right down to the end. The best player on that defense has been Sean Lee who was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after posting 14 tackles and an interception in the end zone ending an Eagles scoring threat. Many of those 14 stops were behind the line of scrimmage as Lee seemed to be everywhere. I hope God blesses Lee with good health going forward because Lee has had to deal with 2 ACL tears, a neck and a toe injury causing him to miss more games than he's played since becoming a Cowboy.

So, Cowboys QB timeline:

> Monday - Romo out with broken collar bone at least 8 weeks, Kellen Moore promoted from the practice squad.

> Tuesday - Dallas worked out 4 QBs to provide veteran depth on the roster including Christian Ponder and Matt Flynn. Dallas made a trade with Buffalo to get Matt Cassel. Dallas gave up their 5th and 7th round picks in 2017 for Cassel and the Cowboys also get a 6th round pick from Buffalo in 2017.

> Wednesday - Cassel arrives in Dallas and participates in practice. Cassel tell media in locker room interview that playing for the Cowboys is dream come true because he had always wanted to play for Dallas.

> Friday - The Cowboys announce that DE Jeremy Mincey is out because he is under the NFL concussion protocol. Mincey suffered the concussion near the end of the Philly game and he missed practice during the week.


The only thing that is a positive is that Dallas is at home and this is the second week in a row the Falcons have played on the road. The Falcons only had to go to NY from Atlanta last week so it wasn't a long trip but being on the road is tiring none-the-less.


As Mickey Spagnola points out in his weekly column on DallasCowboys.com Brandon Weeden doesn't need to just drive the bus for the next 8 weeks he needs to be the Brandon Weeden from his Oklahoma State days. Not conservative but intelligently aggressive. He needs to run all the plays in the Cowboys playbook He doesn't have to be Tony Romo but if he's like a Bernie Kosar or a Steve Beuerlein who both had to come in a play and win games when Troy Aikman was injured back in the 90's Weeden can take the Cowboys where they need to go until Romo returns around Thanksgiving. It all starts against the Falcons Sunday.


The Falcons will be missing 3 starters this week. RB Tevin Coleman will be out with bruised ribs and LBs Brooks Reed (Groin) and former Cowboy Justin Durant (foot) will miss Sunday's game. Add to that list kick returner/WR Devin Hester out with a toe injury.


Byron Jones, the rookie 1st round pick for Dallas this year has made significant contributions to the Cowboys so far. He has been playing the opposing team's TE and he has really done a good job. He virtually eliminated Philly TE Zack Ertz from the offense last week as a prime example. This week Jones will have the task of stopping Atlanta's Jacob Tamme. Tamme isn't nearly as athletic or fast as Ertz but he is a wily vet who learned his craft playing with Peyton Manning in Indy and Denver.


Haven't heard of Mo Claiborne this year? He's playing and the reason you haven't heard from him is because he's playing well. He may not be playing up to his draft status but he's getting there and I'd bet my next check that as each game passes and he does well his confidence will increase every week until maybe, just maybe, nobody slams him as draft day bust. No, they will be wanting Dallas to sign him to a new contract before the season is over so he doesn't go away in free agency next year.


A lot of info today but the bottom line is, who wins the game this week. I believe it's all depending on Brandon Weeden. If he's good I think Dallas will win because I believe the Cowboys defense is just better than Atlanta's. If Weeden isn't good the Falcons will win and the game may not even be close if that is the case. The time has come for me commit to a prediction and I've decided to go total homer here. I believe Weeden, after two years as a Cowboy and getting extra work every week as a result of "Romo days off" on Wednesdays Weeden will be comfortable enough to lead the team to victory. The final score will be .............................................


Dallas 31 Atlanta 29

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All things considered I'm not mad about Dallas losing to Atlanta but I'm not too happy about the WAY they lost to them. It's the mistakes and missed opportunities that killed the Cowboys. Brandon Weeden was 9 for 9 in the 2nd quarter and was up 21-7 when he rolled out to his left and overthrew Jason Witten who was wide open and Atlanta picked off the pass and the turnover was converted into an Atlanta TD. Earlier in the game with a first down at the Cowboys 6 yard line CB Morris Claiborne jumped a quick slant to Julio Jones and he failed to catch the ball for the INT. Two plays later DeVonte Freeman scored the first of his 3 TDs on the day. Still another missed opportunity came when a pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and LB Kyle Wilbur failed to make a play. It should have been 28-7 or worse Dallas on top by halftime but missed opportunities by the Cowboys and the Falcons taking advantage of their opportunities made the score 28-17 at the half. You kind of knew something was not good when, just before the half Dallas put together their 4th TD drive of the half. With 2:18 left in the half Dallas took a kickoff by Atlanta, who had just cut the Cowboys lead to 21-14, at their own 20 and they marched down the field in just 4 plays and they had 1st and goal at the Falcons 1 yard line. Inexplicably, Dallas called timeout despite the fact they had 2 TO's remaining with :46 seconds left instead of letting the clock run down. The goal would have been to run as much clock as possible and still score just before the half or make Atlanta burn their 3 TO's. Dallas scored on the next play with :40 left in the half. I was thinking to myself that I've seen this before, don't let Atlanta drive for a field goal. Well, that's just what they did. Atlanta drove the ball down to the Dallas 14 with :05 left. They kicked the field goal to close within 11 points with the score Dallas 28 Atlanta 17 going into the half. This final drive of the half was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the second half. Figuratively speaking Dallas never really came back on the field. Despite a really good first half in which Dallas led by 14 points 3 different times, 14-0, 21-7 and 28-14, they failed to score even one point in the second half. Atlanta came out fired up and they figuratively and literally punched Dallas right in the mouth. The figuratively was the 22 unanswered points the Falcons scored in the second half and the literally was the fact that both Sean Lee and Barry Church missed time in the second half having to get stitches in their mouths to close up split lips. Atlanta, pure and simply, beat the crap out of Dallas in the final 2 quarters. The defense could not stop DeVonte Freeman who gained 193 yards of total offense including 141 yards rushing with 3 TDs. That left the Cowboys trying to figure how to cover Julio Jones who blew up in the second half. Jones ultimately caught 12 balls for 142 yards and 2 TD's. Jones had but 3 grabs in the first half.

The thing that really aggravated me was when Dallas needed 2 scores late in the 4th quarter and Weeden was still dumping the ball off underneath for minimal gains while the clock burned on. On the day, despite having a decent line score (22/26 for 232 yds, 1 pick and 0 TD's) Weeden only completed one pass to a wide receiver, Cole Beasley, who just missed a TD by a yard. Weeden needed to push the ball down field and he didn't. It was like he had no appreciation for the game situation. Another aggravation was the fact that Joe Randle looked awesome gaining 85 yards in the first half and 2 in the second. The failure of the O-line had a lot to do with that along with the Falcons stacking the box.

The Cowboys will need to regroup because they will to travel to New Orleans to play the Saints. If fair is fair Drew Brees will miss next week's game like he did this week because of his bum shoulder. The Cowboys can't just assume they'll win with Brees out because the Panthers needed all they could muster to beat the Luke McCown led Saints in Carolina by a score of 27-22. For Carolina to surrender 22 points to the Saints with a 2nd string QB considering how good their defense has been playing is a little scary. Dallas is 2-1 while the rest of the division is 1-2 so a one game lead is still a good thing.

Edited by eagle eye
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I think that most everyone agrees the loss to Atlanta isn't the end of the world. How many expected a win? I didn't, I just thought they could. Another thing most agree on was HOW Dallas lost playing so badly in the 2nd half after they had a 28 point first half. The O-line failed to maintain the momentum they had in the 1st half as the holes they made for Joe Randall and Darren McFadden and the pass protection wasn't all that either. The offense suffered because the WRs didn't do squat to get open and maybe they suffered because Brandon Weeden had it drilled into his head that he needed to check down no matter what. The play calling should have opened up at least by the fourth quarter when it was clear the defense couldn't stop the Atlanta offense but the fact is, with so many players missing on defense they just couldn't stand up to the Atlanta starters. Here's who we lost in Philly, DT Terrell McClain was put on IR after severely spraining his toe bad enough to require surgery, DE Jeremy Mincey out due to a concussion, Randy Gregory out with a high ankle sprain. That's your 2 best pass rushers on the roster and an important rotation guy at tackle. No wonder we couldn't stop DeVonta Freeman backups to backups were playing. The Cowboys had to use backup Jack Crawford at DE instead of his spot in the DT rotation. That's what makes the Cowboys failures to capitalize on turnover opportunities and giving up an INT in the first half hurt so bad. Another failure was the opening drive of the 2nd half by the Cowboys. Dallas had stopped Atlanta who took the 2nd half kickoff and they got the ball at mid field and proceeded to go backwards because of 2 penalties and a run for a loss and 3 yard dump off. Dallas never recovered from that series and the game belonged to Atlanta from then on.


Roster moves.

Monday DT Davon Coleman released. Coleman is reportedly sort of goof much like Martellus Bennett was. The Cowboys obviously saw something they didn't like at all for them to release him.

Tuesday Dallas signed DT David Irving from the Kansas City practice squad.

Tuesday Dallas released OL Ronald Patrick from the practice squad and they resigned DE Lavar Edwards to the practice squad. Edwards made the final 53 out of training camp but he was released to make room for Christine Michael. Edwards has been on the practice squads of Oakland and Chicago but was released by both before resigning with Dallas.


Here's a scouting report on the new DL David Irving from DallasCowboys.com's Bryan Broaddus.




I wonder how much of an ass eating Terrence Williams, Devin Street and newly signed Brice Butler got for a pathetic performance against Atlanta. Cole Beasley was the only WR to catch a ball even though Williams dropped a ball that hit him between the 8 and the 3 on his jersey on the Cowboys final drive on a fourth down play. Most of the time the Falcons played man defense with a single safety high and these 3 guys were obviously never open enough for Weeden to feel confident enough to throw them the ball. Throw TE Gavin Escobar into that mix too. Of Weeden's 22 completions 10 went to Lance Dunbar, 2 to McFadden, 6 to Jason Witten and 4 to Cole Beasley. Not good. By contrast Matt Ryan had 24 completions with 16 going to WRs Julio, Leonard Hankerson and Nick Williams. Again, not good.


Okay Atlanta is in the rearview mirror it's time to think about New Orleans.

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Dallas returned to practice today after their normal Tuesday off and so did a couple of starting linemen, one from each side of the ball. Guard Ron Leary was back in the saddle today after missing the past two weeks with groin injury while on the defensive side starting left DE Jeremy Mincey was cleared to return to practice after suffering a concussion last week. Mincey may be the most important returnee because of the injuries along the defensive line. Against Atlanta a lot of backups played a lot of minutes and a couple not in their usual positions. With Mincey back the defense goes back to a more normal rotation.


By their own admission the defense didn't do their jobs against Atlanta. The most vocal players about this were Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford. I would look for a more fired up and motivated defense this week. A defense ready to wreak havoc on the Saints offense regardless of who is playing QB for them.


Morris Claiborne is really looking like the guy Dallas expected in the 2012 draft when they traded up to the 6th pick to get him. Plagued by injuries from day one Claiborne has had to hear the "bust" word a lot. After having off season surgery on both knees and coming back after a lengthy rehab it was speculated that C.laiborne would start 2015 on the PUP list. But that didn't happen. He was limited at the start of training camp but as the weeks passed he was integrated into the defense more and more. After Orlando Scandrick tore his ACL after the 3rd preseason game in practice the depth at the CB position was highly in question with many eyes turning toward this year's 1st round draft pick Byron Jones. But, as Mo showed more in practice he was ready to go the Cowboys realized they would be able to bring the rookie along slowly and now Claiborne is considered Dallas' best CB. As well he should considering where he was drafted, it's just been a long time coming. If Mo is playing well still around Week 11 or so Jerrah probably ought to go find his checkbook and sign Claiborne to an extension before he hits free agency next spring. The Cowboys declined to exercise the 5th year option that would have covered next year this summer because there were too many questions about where Mo was at then and what he would be able to do going forward. Claiborne, when asked about the Cowboys not exercising his 5th year option he said he didn't blame the Cowboys because of his injury history and his lack of production. It was just business. It was the right move by Dallas at the time and now it may be the right time to sign Claiborne and get that "hometown discount" rather than let him go via free agency in 2016. Judging by the results so far, that would be the right thing to do too. With Claiborne saying he is feeling better than he has since his days at LSU and playing like he did at LSU the Cowboys should not let this opportunity pass.


The Cowboys newest defensive lineman, David Irving signed yesterday, was in practice today. Because of his size and length (6'7", 283 lbs) the Cowboys say they will likely use Irving as a defensive end.


All things considered you don't hear much about the Cowboys other CB Brandon Carr and that is a good thing because if we were it would mean Carr has not played very well. Getting torched by Atlanta aside the back end of the Dallas defense, Carr included, has played pretty well so far. What was a killer for Dallas last Sunday was a lack of pressure on Matt Ryan during the game. The front seven had a sack on the Falcons first series and he little pressure the rest of the game. The one thing that will make a CB look better is pressure from the front 7 and it just wasn't there and you saw what the Falcons were able to do as a result. Carr missed the first part of today's practice for a non-injury reason. He did participate in the 2nd half of practice.


Drew Brees or no Drew Brees, that is the question. The answer is, we probably won't know until Sunday morning. If Brees plays that's okay, Dallas has beaten the Saints with Brees before. If Brees' shoulder is not right so much the better, there ought to be more opportunities for turnovers. If Brees doesn't play even better but, Dallas had better not go to sleep on Luke McCown. To be honest I like the Saints previous backup Chase Daniels out of Missouri better but he's moved on to Kansas City so now McCown's the guy next up after Brees. Last week against a pretty good Carolina Panthers defense McCown was 31/38 for 313 yds with 0 TD's and 1 pick. Not too shabby I'd say.


Defensively for NO Rob Ryan's defense is going to attack Brandon Weeden but that should leave the WRs open, if they can beat one on one coverage that is. Weeden will have to think fast, take some shots downfield and play smart meaning he needs to take care of the ball.


On critique of RB Joseph Randle's performance last week was that it seemed like he didn't trust the O-line enough to follow them and run where the play was designed to go. That was one trademark of DeMarco Murray's success last season that Randle needs to learn. Trusting the O-line to clear a path will go along way to helping Randle make people forget about Murray. If Randle doesn't learn his lesson? Well, there's always Darren McFadden or Christine Michael to turn to isn't there?

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Will Christine Michael play or won't he? All things considered I don't think it matters. What matters is Dallas plays 60 minutes this week instead of 30. It was 28-17 at the half last week against Atlanta then the Falcon came out motivated and Dallas came out tired, or bored or whatever. The bottom line is they were bad across the board. Dallas can beat New Orleans this week. If Brandon Weeden is going to be the guy until Tony Romo returns he will need to be 'the guy'. Terrence Williams, Gavin Escobar and the rest of the Cowboys big targets have to be better than they were last week. The fact is I could have played as well as this group did last week and I can tell you, I not good. Dallas needs to win this game in a bad way. New Orleans seems to be a team ripe for the taking even with Drew Brees but Dallas can't sleepwalk through this game. It looks like LG Ron Leary and DE Jeremy Mincey will be back this week. You will likely see more impact from Mincey's return than Leary's but the O-line hasn't played like the dominant unit they were last season so far this season. The O-line needs to just flat play better. The D-line too. Despite being short handed last week the starters that were there didn't exactly set the world on fire. Guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford need to play better---a lot better. Drew Brees needs to spend a lot of time on his back and Mark Ingram needs to be held in much the same way as DeMarco Murray was held two weeks ago in Philly. Dallas can win on the road. They went unbeaten on the road in 2014 and they haven't lost on the road since December of 2013 when they beat the Redskins through the Week 2 win over Philly. Dallas would set an new franchise record for consecutive road wins if they beat the Saints tonight. That doesn't matter, all that matters is the win. Dallas plays New England next week at home after the Pats enjoy a bye week this week. In all likelihood Dallas will lose that game, I hate to say it but the odds are certainly not in the Cowboys favor. That said, Dallas can't lose this week and lose to the Pats next week and go into their bye week 2-3 with Giants coming next on the road. This season could get ugly in a hurry if the Cowboys lose tonight. The most important stat would be Brandon Weeden 0-3 since taking over for Romo if that happens. Weeden needs to have a fair shot but Dallas can't go on an extended losing streak either. It all depends on tonight. Now both teams have to be feeling a little desperate after all NO doesn't want to go 0-4 any more than Dallas wants to go 2-2. The Cowboys 2-2 would sure look like 0-4 all things considered while 0-4 means the Saints are toast for 2015. Tonight should be dubbed The Desperation Bowl because it really is just that. Two teams trying to salvage their season with a win. I know it's silly in many ways to say a game is "must win" in the first week of October but it really is. I am hoping Dallas can redeem themselves for a piss-poor showing in the second half of the Falcons game. It's time for the strength of the team, the O-line and the D-line to step up and play to their potential and beat what is really an inferior opponent. So, the final NEEDS to be ..........................................................................


Dallas 31 New Orleans 17

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I usually wait until the next day to comment on the Cowboys but right now I'm so pissed I can't see straight. I don't know why because when you have Drew Brees on one hand and a Brandon Weeden on the other who would you pick. Even a hurting Drew Brees is better than a healthy Brandon Weeden. The wide receivers, Terrence Williams played patty-cake with the DBs for the Saints instead of getting open. The catch by Terrence Williams for the tying TD was a super catch of yet another crappy Weeden pass. The difference between the Cowboys and the Saints was more than just Brees vs Weeden. The Saints had their top 5 receivers in the game and even the backups performed. Anybody heard of Willie Snead? Apparently neither did the Cowboys as he caught 6 balls for 89 yards. The one target to Dallas' 2nd year WR Devin Street was a penalty because Street stepped out of bounds prior to the pass being thrown so Dallas was flagged for illegal touching. I will say that the Saints cornerbacks were guilty on a lot of plays of illegal contact down field but it wasn't being called. The guy I'm already tired of is Brandon Weeden but he's not along in my anger. The O-line played like warmed over shit. The Saints had a left tackle who could barely walk but Jeremy Mincey never even got close to Drew Brees. The only way Dallas got any pressure at all was to blitz. IMO Dallas should have been doing that even after they tied the game. Instead they rushed 4 and Brees had all freaking night to throw the ball. The only reason the Saints didn't win in regulation was because their kicker missed a 30 yard field goal after Brees drove the Saints from their own 20 to the Cowboys 12 in 1:25 with NO time outs. Hell, the Saints were wasting time so they could kick the field goal and leave Dallas very little time to come back. All it took was two plays in OT for NO to win. An incomplete pass on 1st down followed by a blown coverage by rookie LB Damien Wilson and CJ Spiller goes 80 yards with a catch and run to win the game for the previously struggling Saints. Dallas is in deep shit. Next week they face the Patriots coming off their bye week and that game is going to get ugly real quick. Dallas will go into their bye week in Week 6 with a record of 2-3 and not much hope of winning considering how badly the whole damn team is playing. The injury issues are obscene. Dallas lost Sean Lee in the second qtr to a concussion on a tackle of NO TE Josh Hill. Poor Sean Lee, that guy can't catch a break. Speaking of catching a break, Dallas can't seem to get any reprieve from this injury epidemic. It's crazy. The Cowboys not only lost Sean Lee but they lost Lance Dunbar to a knee injury. I don't know what the story was for Joseph Randall but Darren McFadden played most of the 4th qtr. This was ugly and Dallas needs to take a long look at themselves. They have had more injuries than a normal team could bear and yet Dallas is managing to stay competitive except for the fact they just can't win. I'm really sick of Brandon Weeden. No more excuses about how bad Cleveland was and his 6 wins in 2 and half years was because of that. Weeden is 0-3 as a starter and he's not getting the job done. I'm really ready to see Matt Cassel or Kellen Moore. We sure can't do any worse, can we? I'm too emotional right now and I have work in the morning. That's the other thing, I'm going hear it from the haters tomorrow. Early this morning I was hoping for a Texans, Astros and Cowboys sweep. Well, we got swept and looked lousy doing it. I want to cuss and rant for an hour but I won't because it just won't do any good.
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The Cowboys anticipate that the MRI done Lance Dunbar's right knee injured last night in New Orleans will show that he has a torn ACL and possibly an MCL too. If the worst case comes to pass the Cowboys will place him on season ending injured reserve.


The Cowboys can activate DE Greg Hardy and LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/suspended list. The Cowboys could use a little boost in their front seven with all the injuries they have had to deal with. It was an injury to LB Andrew Gachkar that was the ultimate reason for the 80 yard TD scored by CJ Spiller on a swing pass from Drew Brees that ended the game on the second play in overtime. Gachkar hobbled off the field and Damien Wilson had to come in almost at the snap not knowing what his assignment should be and that's how Spiller was so open on the play.


The injury list from last night is fairly long including WR Brice Butler who pulled his hamstring at the end of a 67 yard catch and run in the 2nd half. Of course there was the loss of Sean Lee to a concussion. It has been reported that the Cowboys training staff had to hide Lee's helmet and forbid him from going into the game. Today Jason Garrett said that Lee was feeling fine and that he would begin the concussion protocol. Hopefully, he will be back in the lineup for next Sunday's game against New England.


To make room for Hardy and McClain the Cowboys released two players today. Gone are DT Ken Bishop and LB Keith Smith. Neither player had any defensive stats.


Oh yeah, the Patriots come to town this week. Dallas will be lucky if they don't hang 40+ on them.

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Did anyone notice that Joseph Randall didn't play at the end of the Saints game? That he didn't play much at all after scoring the TD with about 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter? The reason was because Randall was lucky on that TD lunge at the end zone that he broke the plane of the goal line before the ball was knocked out of his hand or the Cowboys would have suffered a demoralizing turnover instead of scoring a touchdown. The fact is Randall did the same the week prior against Atlanta and had been warned about it by his coaches. They told Randall flat out, "Don't do that.", but he did it again anyway. The kicker is when he was reminded of his mistake on the sideline in New Orleans he didn't get it. "What is the problem, I scored a TD?". That lack of awareness is liable to get Randall unemployed real quick. The fact is, Dallas doesn't need a guy who is so self centered that he can't see the bigger picture or understand the message the coaches are trying to get across to him. I'm fine with Darren McFadden, Christine Michael and Gus Johnson being the guys for Dallas if this is the best we can expect out of Randall. Gus Johnson? Yep, the same guy from our sister SLC school Stephen F Austin who impressed after being signed by the Cowboys just a day or two before training camp began. I would have no problem with Johnson filling the role left open by Lance Dunbar when he tore his ACL and MCL against the Saints. Johnson is still on the Cowboys practice squad but he's got to see the mess of things Joe Randall is making of his opportunity simply because he's thick headed. We'll see how it goes but I wonder how long Jason Garrett will put up with a player that seems to be this dumb.


DE Greg Hardy and LB Rolando McClain returned to practice yesterday. Both players are probably on a play count since they have missed the first 4 weeks of the season due to separate suspensions. With the status of Sean Lee iffy going into this game with the Patriots McClain will be a welcome addition to the linebacker corps. We'll see how healthy he is and how much he can talk since he missed almost all of training camp rehabbing a knee he had scoped just before OTA's. I'm not sure I will expect much out of McClain for the first couple of weeks. Hardy, on the other hand participated in training camp and preseason games so he will just need to knock off a little rust. If Hardy only plays on passing downs that will be okay as long as he can put Tom Brady on his backside for pressure him enough to throw some interceptable passes. The other end of that will be is the DBs can actually catch the ball to make an interception.


Today is the first real day of practice this week for the Patriots game and I'm sure we will get some updates later in the day. Yesterday Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com wrote an article (with accompanying video) about Hardy's return including an interview with Hardy. Needless to say he is happy to be back and is ready to go.



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Dallas got Sean Lee back in practice yesterday even though on the official injury report he was listed as limited but for someone on the concussion protocol the fact he was able to practice is a pretty good sign that he will be available to play against the Patriots this week. That means that the Cowboys will have everyone they expected to the defense on the field for Week 5 except for Randy Gregory who is still rehabbing his hamstring injury. It's none too soon with the mighty Pats coming to town.

There are only 4 players on the injury list this week. There's Gregory, WRs Dez Bryant, Brice Butler and TE James Hanna. Of course, Dez is still recovering from the surgery on his broken toe. Butler and Hanna were injured in the Saints game last Sunday night. Butler pulled his hamstring at the tail end of a 67 yard pass and run from Brandon Weeden and Hanna injured his ankle at some point in the game. It will be a big loss to the Dallas special teams and in the Dallas run game they will miss his blocking. It's ironic that Hanna, who ran the fastest 40 time in the 2012 draft combine of all the TE's there and he was known as a receiving tight end at the University of Oklahoma, has become such a mainstay blocking in the Cowboys offense.

The Cowboys will need better play from the O-line and they need their wide receivers to do a better job of getting off the line of scrimmage and get open enough for Weeden to have a viable option to go to on the outside. They will need that to keep the Patriots from joining the Falcons and Saints who loaded the box with 8 and 9 men daring the Cowboys to beat them on the outside and Dallas couldn't do it. Dallas needs to have that threat to be able to run the ball or even get some big plays and score more points. Now, Dallas did score 28 on the Falcons but with the defense outmatched by the Falcons offense it wasn't enough. In New Orleans Drew Brees dinked and dunked on the Cowboys even more than Brandon Weeden dinked and dunked. Brees just did it better because his wideouts did a better job of getting open. Plus Dallas couldn't stop the run which didn't help one bit in pass coverage. Why was this so important? Because Dallas couldn't move the ball and when they did they were hit with penalties. Did Dallas lose heart when Romo went down? I am not sure that the Cowboys didn't have issues when Romo was there. If the Giants hadn't had a brain fart at the end of the game on opening night that gave Dallas one last chance to pull out that game the Cowboys would have lost. Before Romo got hurt against the Eagles the Cowboys were winning but the game was still very much in doubt. It was actually Weeden who hit Terrance Williams on the slant for the TD in the fourth quarter that iced the game for Dallas for that 2-0 start. This has been a weird season so far and it's not really on Brandon Weeden for the 0-2 record since Romo broke his collar bone. It's been mainly because the defense has been overmatched and gave up way too much. With the return of Hardy and McClain the Cowboys are almost a full strength on defense but the problem is Hardy and McClain are covered with rust from not having played in 5 weeks. Hell McClain has barely practiced since Dallas lost to Green Bay in January in the playoffs because of off season knee surgery. If Hardy and McClain can give Dallas 15-18 really good plays on Sunday that all we can realistically expect.

On one hand I am afraid the Patriots are gonna hang 50 on the Cowboys this week but on the other hand I've seen Dallas win these kinds of games when they are prohibitive underdogs and they rise up and play a whale of a game and win. Remember when the Cowboys hosted an undefeated and seemingly unstoppable Indianapolis Colts team a few years back when Peyton Manning was still leading them and Dallas beat their asses that day. It's the NFL and anything can happen on any given Sunday.

So, what is the final score? Even I have to be realistic and face facts. Dallas is not as good as New England and even though I think they can keep the score close I believe Dallas will go into their bye week 2-3. Final score?


New England 37 Dallas 24

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Going into the game tomorrow the injury report is pretty much what I posted the other day. No Dez, no Brice Butler and no Randy Gregory and, of course, no Romo. Sean Lee is probable so you can pencil him in as will Andrew Gachkar and DT Ryan Russell. The only one listed as questionable is TE James Hanna. If Hanna's alma mater, Oklahoma, jacks up Texas today it may jack up Hanna enough to play tomorrow. Shoot, after all, the Cowboys go on a bye week after tomorrow's game, surely he can play? Maybe he will, and don't call me Shirley. The Pats are healthy with only a couple of players listed as questionable and they aren't starters anyway. For Dallas to be without Butler is a problem because he was the one player with speed that was even a cursory threat down the field. Terrence Williams and Devin Street need to step up with Street being a big disappointment I'm sure after coaches bragged on him going into OTA this summer.


In this week's Friday rant by DallasCowboys.com's Mickey Spagnola he tells us about a guy who seemed to be just a footnote when he was signed last week before the Saints game. He practiced on Wednesday for the first time as a Cowboy and he ended up playing a bunch of snaps in the game---and did a good job! The guy's name is David Irving and at 6'7" 282 lbs he is sort of a "Too Tall Jones" type who, as you will find out, impressed the coaching staff in his brief time in Dallas. I have to say I noticed the guy on Sunday night. Big ole number 95 in the interior of the Cowboys D-line. That's hard for anyone, much less a rookie undrafted free agent who missed his senior season in college because of a misunderstanding. Check out The Mick's article and keep an eye peeled for 95 in Sunday's game.



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Okay, I am really, really sick of Brandon Weeden. I don't care if he's not getting much help from his WRs. I don't care if he isn't getting much production from the run game. I don't care. I am sick of this loser. I'm sick of him checking down all the time. Of course he's going to have a lot of completions. I could have a lot of completions throwing the ball 3 feet on check-downs. Right now we have a guy under center who inspires---nothing. He has had 4 starts as a Cowboy and he is 0-4. A few weeks ago I posted here that Weeden didn't need to be Romo but we needed him to be a guy who could win games. I am sick of the sight of Weeden and I'm sick of his press conferences and I'm sick of the Cowboys sticking with this guy. The season is swirling down the toilet and this guy is giving the Cowboys no spark at all. I didn't expect Dallas to beat the Patriots but I expected more than I got today. In seven first half possessions (I don't count the kneel-down at the end of the half) Weeden led the Cowboys offense to 6 3-and-outs. The had one drive of 10 plays for 42 yards which lead to a field goal that actually tied the game at 3 at the time.

You had some hope as Dallas took their first possession of the 2nd half (after an opening TD drive by NE for 20-3 lead) and drove the field in a 15 play 75 yard drive that stalled at the Patriots 5 that resulted in a field goal. Great. Instead of cutting into a 17 point lead with a TD Dallas got a damn field goal. On their second possession of the second half, which didn't come until the 4th Qtr, Dallas ran 4 plays on a drive that ended with a Jason Witten fumble. The fumble, BTW was BS because it shouldn't have been ruled a catch. If Dez didn't catch the ball in Green Bay Witten didn't catch that one. The next Dallas drive Weeden threw a pick. I'm telling you, I want Matt Cassel or Kellen Moore, I am sick of Weeden. The guy is a loser and he's dragging the Cowboys down with him.


The Redskins almost beat Atlanta who prevailed late in the game to steal the win. Philly kicked the shit out of New Orleans which is what we should have done last week. Drew Brees lost 2 fumbles and threw a pick and the Saints lost another fumble giving the Eagles 4 turnovers. The Eagles win going away 39-17 and the Giants will have to screw up to lose to the 49ers. The Giants currently lead 13-3 close to half time even though the Niners are in the red zone. So let's look at the NFC East.


NY Giants 2-2 (probably 3-2 after tonight)

Dallas Cowboys 2-3

Washington Redskins 2-3

Philadelphia Eagles 2-3


Dallas goes on their bye week so they definitely won't lose next week but if there was a way to lose Weeden would find it. When Dallas comes back they have to travel to the Giants and play at home vs the Seahawks and Eagles then travel to Tampa. I see four winnable games under normal circumstances but with Weeden at QB the Cowboys could be looking at 2-7. This is depressing.

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The more I think about it the more disgusted I get. This team, who was in the conversation of Super Bowl contenders, is a laughing stock. I have had a chance to calm down after the total ass whooping the Patriots put on us last Sunday and I still come to the same conclusion--Brandon Weeden must go. As I posted on Sunday evening, Weeden isn't the whole problem but he isn't giving the team any spark either. The first comparison that comes to mind is right down the road in Houston. Ryan Mallett moved the team the past two weeks but he didn't make a play that resulted in points. Mallett didn't do anything wrong per se but he didn't give the Texans any spark. Brian Hoyer comes in and he moves the team AND leads them to putting points on the scoreboard. Brandon Weeden is our Ryan Mallett. He's doing his job but he's got no spark. It's hard create sparks when all you do is check down to the underneath receivers. Teams will let you gain 3 yards all day because it won't sustain drives. The 6 3-and-outs in the first half Sunday illustrates my point of a QB who gives his team no spark. Who knows if Matt Cassel is the guy to spark this offense but it's time for a change. We need a QB who will make teams pay for keeping 8 and 9 guys in the box to stop the run. Complete the ball down the field, and I'm not talking about a slew of 9 routes, I'm talking about 12-15 yard pass completions with an occasional YAC to stretch the field. Do that then the defense will have to respect the passing game and the run lanes should open up. You don't have to be Bill Belichick for figure this out.

The O-line needs to play better and it may be time to see what La'el Collins will give you because Ronald Leary mucked up often against the Patriots. It's time for this Pro Bowl line to start playing like it. Maybe if they feel like there is a QB who will get them the ball the WRs will get open a little bit more frequently than they have. It's time to find out who the playmakers are on this damn team. There is no Romo, no Dez and no DeMarco so somebody has to step up and say, "enough, dammit", and show this team how to play winning football. To me, it starts at QB. Somebody has to give this team hope and that guy on any team is the QB. I don't care if it's Matt Cassel or Kellen Moore somebody has to step the hell up. I am tired of a QB who does nothing but check down all the time. At some point you have to push the ball up the field. For years the defense was the Achilles heel of the Cowboys. They couldn't stop anyone when it mattered. Now, I believe this defense is poised to do really good, if not great, things but they won't be able to if the offense continuously screws them over with 3-and-outs and turnovers. Make a change Jason Garrett. I'm not big on change for change sake but Weeden has shown what he is and he is not a winning NFL QB, period. It's time to let Matt Cassel have a go at this thing especially if they tell him if he checks down like Weeden they will kick him in the nads.

Edited by eagle eye
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It's not official yet but there are rumors coming out of the Cowboys locker room that Matt Cassel will be the starting QB new week against the Giants. Dallas is on their bye week now so it gives Cassel an extra week of prep for his first start as a Cowboy. I have already stated my feelings on this subject so, if it's true, I think it's a good move. Even if Cassel falls flat on his face, which I don't think he will, it's still a good move. Anybody care to debate the value of Tony Romo now?




There is another thread going through Cowboys Nation that we need to make a move at running back as well. Nobody has really stepped up and seized control of the #1 RB spot as yet although Joe Randle has shown flashes he can't stay out of the coach's dog house. He has been too thick headed to understand why you don't throw one arm with the ball at the goal line. Despite scoring he has nearly lost two fumbles and he can't understand why the coaches are upset. Thick headed. Darren McFadden has been rather disappointing but he says he'll do better. Christine Michael hasn't even really been given a chance as yet. There is talk he is seriously deficient in pass protection. If Cassel, or Weeden for that matter, doesn't get time to throw the ball it won't matter who is in the game. It makes me wonder about the health of former SLC RB Gus Johnson. Johnson hurt his shoulder in preseason after impressing coaches with his abilities during training camp. He was one of the players that lasted until the final cut down to the 53 man roster just before the season began but the Cowboys signed him to their practice squad. I would think that Johnson would be a prime candidate to step in for Lance Dunbar who tore his ACL and MCL against the Saints in Week 4 but Dallas has yet to make a move. I'm sure the Cowboys are hoping this change at QB will result in a little more pop in the passing game which would, in turn, help the running game pop a little more too. The only thing is we have to wait for another 11 days before we find out if Matt Cassel will be any better than Brandon Weeden.

When Dallas had to have a backup in the past they tended to get a veteran guy who had won in the NFL. Back in the 90's Jimmy Johnson had guys like Rodney Peete, Steve Beuerlein, Bernie Kosar, Wade Wilson among the experienced guys who came in a won games for the Cowboys. I believe the Cowboys, when they signed Weeden, believed they had a guy like that. Trouble was, even though, the Cowboys had a high draft grade on Weeden when he came out in the 2012 draft he has not proved he can win in the NFL consistently. His record as a starter is 5-23 with 4 of those losses coming as a Cowboy. Weeden is a bust and there is no two ways about it.


One guy who has flown under the radar so far this season is Dallas' 1st round draft choice this year, Byron Jones. The Cowboys have used Jones to shadow opposing team's tight ends for the most part and he has done an excellent job. Dallas has thrown a lot at Jones working him at both corner and safety and he's proved to be up to the task. The Cowboys didn't need to throw Jones out at CB right out of the box because of the reemergence of CB Mo Claiborne, who has played pretty darn well too. This allowed Jones to improve without the pressure of being a starter and it looks like Dallas has yet another hit on it's 1st round draft picks. In fact since 2011 Dallas first round draft picks have all been hits with Claiborne as the lone exception. Amid getting Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin Claiborne looked for all the world like a big ole bust. But, this season, he has been healthy which he hasn't been since he came out of LSU and he's proving he was not a wasted pick after all. Now with Jones doing well the Cowboys are on a serious roll of getting quality draft picks. Since Jimmy Johnson left that hasn't been the case. That is mainly attributable to the player personnel guy for the Cowboys Will McClay and Jason Garrett who came in with a plan to rebuild the Cowboys and except for the injuries that have taken a serious toll on the team this year had the team on a totally upward projection. Losing a Pro Bowl QB, an All Pro wide receiver and a host of other injuries has turned that upwardness to a downward spiral all because they didn't have who they thought they were getting at QB. But, I digress. The point of this was to praise the Cowboys for hitting yet another first round pick in Byron Jones. While the jury is still out on the young man all the signs point to the Cowboys having a really good player on their hands who could finally be the replacement for the great Darren Woodson at safety the Cowboys have been searching for these past 11 years since he retired.


One position Dallas has had issues with is the 2nd round picks of TEs. They tried to choose one Martellus Bennett out of Texas A&M and while he was very talented and became a good blocker he hasn't exactly lit up the horizon with his shining star. In fact after 4 years as a Cowboy Dallas let him go via free agency. The next guy up was Gavin Escobar out of San Diego State. Dallas got Escobar in yet another attempt to fill the tight end of the future slot behind Jason Witten. So far he has not made a significant contribution to the Cowboys offense even though in preseason we hear he's about ready for a breakout season. Let's not forget about Oklahoma's James Hanna. Hanna was the Cowboys 6th round pick in 2012 and he's actually been the best of the lot. I believe that he was under valued coming out of Oklahoma because he was not considered an NFL TE prospect but he ran the fastest time in the 40 of all the other TE's in the 2012 draft combine and Dallas couldn't pass up the opportunity. Despite the feeling that Hanna was just a receiver he has proved everyone wrong as he has become a really good blocker. If I had a guess I could see Hanna as the replacement for Jason Witten one day. Either that or that man is not currently on the roster.

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No sooner than I made my post Jason Garrett had his Tuesday press conference and there are two big changes being made as Dallas prepares for the Giants next week.


First, as speculated Matt Cassel will be the starting QB next week. Garrett said they evaluated the film and they decided it was in the best interests of the team to make the switch. The bye week is really the best possible time for such a move because it gives Cassel an extra week of prep before making his first start.


Second, the Cowboys will also replace left guard Ron Leary and La'el Collins will be the starter going forward. Collins made a start a couple of weeks ago when Leary was out with a groin injury. Leary had a bad game last Sunday against the Patriots getting beat on plays and also getting penalized on several plays. One of the problems with the Cowboys in this first 5 weeks of the season is dumb penalties by the O-line. Penalties weren't really a big problem last season for the line who played in dominant fashion and played clean with few mental or physical mistakes. This season has been different so far and in his limited starts so far this season Collins was the one guy, along with center Travis Frederick, who played with power and without penalties or mistakes. Collins, whose draft stock fell off the draft board completely because he was a person of interest in a murder investigation prior to the draft, was signed as an undrafted free agent and, if pre-draft projections end up being correct, Dallas got 3 first round caliber players with a 1st and 2nd round draft picks and a UFA which could be the coup of the new millennium. So jar Byron Jones, Randy Gregory and Collins have shown real promise. Time will tell but so far the 2015 draft looks pretty good.

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Yesterday Dallas made another roster move by signing RB Rod Smith off waivers. Smith, an undrafted rookie from Ohio State, was on the Seahawks practice squad until last week when they signed him to their 53 man roster. He got 2 carries for 5 yards in the game against Cincinnati last Sunday. Smith is tall (6'3") for a RB and at 226 lbs he brings a load with him. Here's a scouting report on Smith from DallasCowboys.com's Bryan Broaddus. Smith filled an open spot in the Cowboys roster that was opened up when Dallas cut WR Vince Mayle who was brought up from the Cowboys practice squad for depth when Brice Butler was out due to a pulled hamstring in the Saints game.




Apparently a man was shot outside of AT&T Stadium on Sunday after the Patriots-Cowboys game and he ended up dying. I have not found out the why of the matter but local Dallas beat writer Clarence Hill wrote the man who did the shooting was egged on by bystanders to shoot the victim. The man who did the shooting was arrested and I hope they drive him straight to Huntsville and he gets the needle as soon as possible. The victim, a 43 year old man had a family and did not deserve to die at a football game because of some shithead with a gun. Hill also reported that the same man held the gun to another man's head prior to the shooting. The guy is obviously crazy and I have zero sympathy for a person like that. As for the people who egged the gunman on, they should go to jail as accessories to murder and we'll see how funny it all is then.


It was reported yesterday that Brandon Weeden "was pissed" because he was no longer the starter. Wah, Brandon, Wah! Try playing better. You have nobody to blame but yourself. You brought nothing to the table and you lost 3 straight, 2 games of which you probably should have won. Dallas messed up because they thought they were getting something Weeden isn't, an NFL caliber QB. I also think that the other QB on the roster, Kellen Moore should get some reps. The guy was a highly successful QB while in college at Boise State going 50-3 in his college career. The guy is no rookie, he's been on the Lions practice squad since coming into the NFL as a UFA in 2012 before Dallas signed him a few weeks ago. I know the rub against Moore, he's only 6'0" tall but, if a guy can play who cares? Who else do you have if Matt Cassel falls flat on his face? The Cowboys going back to Weeden? Gawd I hope not. Moore is shy on game experience and I get that but a guy has to start somewhere, right?


Latest I've heard and later confirmed by DallasCowboys.com that Dez Bryant was in uniform, shoulder pads and helmet at practice today. It is the first time he's been dressed for practice since his surgery on his foot after Week 1's injury during the Giants game. Dez didn't work with the team, he was doing conditioning work with trainers and medical staff on the side but he was there which gives hope that he will be available to play in 10 days against, ironically enough, the Giants.


Today was the last practice of the bye week. Sean Lee returned after missing a day with an illness. Randy Gregory returned to practice yesterday after being out since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 1. He was at practice again today and looks like he will be full go against the Giants after the bye week. Brandon Carr, Jeremy Mincey, Danny McCray and James Hanna missed practice today. Hanna has been nursing a sore ankle and no reason was given for the others because, being a bye week, the Cowboys were not obligated to. The next Dallas gets together will be next week when they begin preparing for a trip to New Jersey. At least no bad news will come down and no way in hell will Dallas lose a ballgame this weekend. Looking for silver linings here.

Edited by eagle eye
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